What is SafeColleges?

What is SafeColleges?SafeColleges

The SafeColleges Training System is a comprehensive, web-based training system that delivers engaging compliance and prevention training for students, faculty, and staff. The site offers a series of online research-based courses covering Human Resources and Employment practices, Environmental Health & Safety, Information Technology, Emergency Management, Social & Behavioral, and Security and Nutrition Services. Courses comply with important federal legislation, including Title IX, FERPA, and OSHA.

SafeColleges offers training modules in the various topics in video formats anywhere from 10 – 25 minutes and presented in real life applications.

Maggie Crutcher, Environmental Safety Manager for Green River College, has been instrumental in making better use of this web-based training system by implementing programs that support environmental safety and compliance at GRC. If you want to learn more about SafeColleges and what you can do to support compliance at GRC please contact Maggie Crutcher (mcrutcher@greenriver.edu).

Registration is OPEN for IT Skills Enhancement Training!

The IT department is happy to announce the opening of registration for the Winter Quarter IT Skills Enhancement Training. Workshops will begin in February and will include a repeat of 2 training sessions from Fall quarter (for those who missed them) plus SharePoint 101! it skills enhancement promo

Below are the topic descriptions including the registration links.  We hope you will join the fun of learning together while expanding your skills!

SET #1: Office 365 Overview  

This is a high-level review of the Office 365 tools that are available to all Green River Employees.  We’ll examine what tools you can leverage today and go over some of the exciting new programs that will be coming to GRC in the near future. This workshop will be offered in HL116 on the following days and times:

Tuesday, February 5th:   Noon to 1PM

Thursday, February 7th:  2PM to 3PM

Click here to register for SET #1:  Overview of Office 365

SET #2:  Getting the most from:  Remote Access, Shared Drives, Password Reset and more!

Use “Remote Access” while you’re not on campus.  Always save your information to the “shared drives”.  You can reset your passwords with the “Password Management System”.  IT references these tools all the time, but do you really know what they mean?  Join us for our second session where we’ll go over the IT tools that are in use at GRC today.  This session will incorporate hands on computer training to help build your ability to use these tools properly and with confidence in your day-to-day world.

This workshop will be offered in SH 350 on the following days and  times:

Tuesday, February 12th :             Noon to 1PM

Thursday, February 14th :            2PM to 3PM

Click here to register for IT SET #2:  Remote Access, Shared Drives, Password Reset and More!

SET #3:  SharePoint 101

SharePoint is Microsoft’s multi-function tool for collaboration, data sharing, web site hosting, and document storage. Today, SharePoint does all of this and is increasingly becoming the foundation for Office 365 collaboration. Join us for an overview of SharePoint. Together we will review SharePoint websites, web parts, permissions, and go over how SharePoint plays with other Office 365 tools.  We are excited, and hope you are too!

This workshop will be offered in HL 116 the following days and times:

Tuesday, February 19th:   Noon to 1PM

Thursday, February 21st:  2PM to 3PM

Tuesday, February 26th:   Noon to 1PM

Thursday, February 28th: 2PM to 3PM

Click here to register for IT SET #3:  SharePoint 101










Classified Staff In-Service Day

On behalf of the Classified Training and Development Committee, we invite all classified staff to a workshop focused on the importance of student completion and how non-faculty members can play a role in assisting students towards that goal. February 7, 2019 will feature two options for attending this workshop: 9a-10:30a and 1-2:30pm (supervisors: make note that, while areas should remain open, employees should be given the time to attend one session). Below is a little bit of information about our day’s facilitator, Erin Jones!

erin jones

Erin Jones

Erin Jones has been involved in and around schools for the past 26 years. She has taught in a variety of environments, from predominantly Black to predominantly White to some of the most diverse communities in the nation. Erin received an award as the Most Innovative Foreign Language Teacher in 2007, while working in Tacoma and was the Washington State Milken Educator of the Year in 2008, while teaching in Spokane. In March of 2013, the White House recognized her as a “Champion of Change” and she received Washington State PTA’s “Outstanding Educator” award in 2015. In 2016, Erin ran as a candidate for State Superintendent (the first black woman to run for any state office in WA), a race she lost by a mere 1%.

Green Dot Comes to Green River!

This week, a few of our Green River colleagues traveled to Edmonds for a four-day training on preventing dating violence, sexual violence and stalking. Green Dot is a nationally recognized bystander intervention program that seeks to prevent dating and sexual violence by leveraging students, faculty and staff as allies. “It relies on the premise that if everyone does their small part and commits to individual responsibility, the combined effect is a safe campus culture that is intolerant of violence. The college-based curriculum draws heavily on the experiences of college students and the reality of this issue in their lives. This curriculum uses interactive activities to reinforce core concepts and encourages students to envision their future and the world in which they want to live, then aligns their bystander behavior with that vision.”

We look forward to learning some new ways that we can keep Green River a safe and supportive environment!

Our Green River delegation: Chernenko Wheatley – Employee and Labor Relations, Deborah Tugaga – Career and Advising Center, Marvin Viney – Campus Safety, Chelsie Taresh Ciscell – TRiO


In-Service Day is Here!

Posted on behalf of Kirk Walker, Training Manager

Pie_eating_contest_1923Your In-Service Day Committee is excited to kick off Green River’s Tasting Tours during In-Service Day this year on Friday, April 21st! You may ask, “What are you talking about?” Tasting Tours are scheduled campus events for faculty and staff to visit divisions/departments in their respective work areas to take guided tours of buildings/classrooms/work areas (if possible),  engage in conversations about what the divisions/departments do and learn about their new programs/initiatives– all the while enjoying food and getting to know each other better!businessman-607831_960_720


You asked and we listened! Our first In-Service Day workshops that you can receive Green River Continuing Education credits for are Coaching, Time Management, and Power of First Impressions. Remember that faculty can use continuing education credits to increase their total number of credits up to the maximum 360 credits.


8:30 am – 9:05 am: Tasting Tours first stop: Note that a light breakfast will be served at each stop

  • If your last name begins with the letter A through L,  your Tasting Tour begins in Trades Building TTA 400 Complex at 8:30 am for the “Brake-fast and Tasting Tour”  with the Trades Division. 
  • If your last name begins with the letter M through Z, your Tasting Tour begins in Salish Hall 110  at 8:30 am for the “Rock and Enroll Tasting Tour”  with Enrollment Services.

9:05 am – 9:15 am: Transition time to next Tasting Tour Stop

10:00 am – 11:50 am: Workshops

11:50 am – 1:00 pm: Sandwich Wrap Buffet

View the 2017 Green River In-Service Day Workshops

Campus Security Authorities (CSA) Training

Posted on behalf of Kirk Walker, Training Manager

Through the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, or simply Clery Act, institutions of higher education that receive federal financial aid (that means us) are tasked with reporting and providing crime and safety information. This keeps students and the rest of the College community informed of dangers on campus.badge

Green River College takes safety awareness very seriously and recently invited Major Steve Rittereiser, Commander of Police at the University of Washington, to come teach our Campus Security Authorities (CSA’s) about a range of Clery Act related topics:

  • Purpose of the Clery Act – What does it mean to Green River?
  • Who are “Campus Security Authorities”? – At institutions of higher education these are officials who have responsibility for student and campus activities, security personnel and individuals/organizations who receive reports of criminal activity.
  • Identification of Campus Security Authorities
    • The Campus Security Authorities at GRC are generally the directors, managers and deans of the College. If you are a CSA, the Office of Human Resources has already informed you.
  • Reportable Geography – What area are we responsible for reporting on?
  • Crime Definitions – What constitutes a crime or security concern on campus?
  • Timely Warning Notices – What is our process for notifying campus of a threat?
  • Daily Crime Log – How do we maintain our records?

Training Green River’s leadership on the Clery Act and campus security ensures that we maintain compliance and, more importantly, that our College and community remains safe and secure.

Have questions about future CSA training? Email Kirk Walker, Training Manager.

Green River’s Opening Week: Call for Workshop Proposals!

Loud Speaker

Calling all Green River community members seeking an opportunity to share a workshop where colleagues connect, learn, and grow together!

This year’s Opening Week is Tuesday, September 13, through Friday, September 16. Seize the moment to provide a workshop by submitting your proposal, via the form below, by Thursday, August 11, to Kirk Walker.

Thank you in advance for sharing your expertise!

WFSE Collective Bargaining Agreement Training

WFSE Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) Training for Represented Classified Staffbook

RSVP for the training session below by selecting a date and then clicking on “Register For
This Event” (remember to save the training to your Outlook Calendar)

Required WFSE Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) Training for Supervisors/Managers/Deans that supervise represented classified staff!

 Let us know:

  • What parts of the CBA do you have questions about?
  • Where would you like clarification?

Please send your suggestions and/or questions to Kirk Walker, Training Manager.

The Morgan Challenge: Gramm – Leach Bliley Act: Financial and Federal Personally Identifiable Information (Federal PII)

This Week’s Videos

This week we move to the next two videos in our contest:  Simply click below and complete the following videos:

  1. Gramm – Leach Bliley Act: Financial
  2. Federal Personally Identifiable Information (Federal PII)


New to the Morgan Challenge?

In case you haven’t heard, our very own Camella Morgan (Executive Director of Information Technology) is giving away 100 Grand (chocolate bars) to the first 10 people to complete the challenge below!

Take the Morgan Challenge - Win 100 Grand!

All faculty and staff at Green River College are eligible. If asked, simply plug in your campus credentials (username and password) to get started. Completion is auto-magically tracked and winners will be personally notified. Game on!

The Morgan Challenge: You Are the Target and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

This Week’s Videos

This week we move to the next two videos in our contest:  Simply click below and complete the following videos:

  1. You Are the Target
  2. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)


New to the Morgan Challenge?

In case you haven’t heard, our very own Camella Morgan (Executive Director of Information Technology) is giving away 100 Grand (chocolate bars) to the first 10 people to complete the challenge below!

Take the Morgan Challenge - Win 100 Grand!

All faculty and staff at Green River College are eligible. If asked, simply plug in your campus credentials (username and password) to get started. Completion is auto-magically tracked and winners will be personally notified. Game on!

Bridges: Building a Supportive Community

The Elimination of Campus Sexual Violence Act (Campus SaVE Act) — passed as part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 — requires training that covers state law definitions of sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence for faculty and staff.

GRC is using the Bridges Training program (follow the link to access the training as often as you like) to cover this information in detail as well as explain consent and explore its many complexities in sexual assault cases.

This is an ongoing campus wide coordinated effort, and we were proud to see such a strong presence from various departments throughout the training so far. (Over the three days of training, over 150 employees successfully completed the training.)

As a reminder, our Title IX coordinators are:

  • Student related concerns: Vice President of Student Affairs, Deborah Casey
  • Faculty & Staff concerns: Vice President of Human Resources and Legal Affairs, Marshall Sampson

Additionally, the following individuals are our Confidential Counselors and are all located in the Student Affairs and Success Building:

  • Liz Becker
  • Devon Klein
  • Min Lee Booth

Thank you again to everyone who made an effort to attend and complete the training! If you weren’t able to attend, please don’t worry as we will be sending out updates for new time slots in the coming months. Please keep in mind that this is mandatory training as well as an important topic.

The Morgan Challenge: Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act: Educational and Red Flags Rule

This Week’s Videos

This week we move to the next two videos in our contest:  Simply click below and complete the following videos:

  1. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act: Educational
  2. Red Flags Rule


New to the Morgan Challenge?

In case you haven’t heard, our very own Camella Morgan (Executive Director of Information Technology) is giving away 100 Grand (chocolate bars) to the first 10 people to complete the challenge below!

Take the Morgan Challenge - Win 100 Grand!

All faculty and staff at Green River College are eligible. If asked, simply plug in your campus credentials (username and password) to get started. Completion is auto-magically tracked and winners will be personally notified. Game on!

The Morgan Challenge: Encryption and Data Destruction

This Week’s Videos

This week we move to the next two videos in our contest:  Simply click below and complete the following videos:

  1. Encryption
  2. Data Destruction


New to the Morgan Challenge?

In case you haven’t heard, our very own Camella Morgan (Executive Director of Information Technology) is giving away 100 Grand (chocolate bars) to the first 10 people to complete the challenge below!

Take the Morgan Challenge - Win 100 Grand!

All faculty and staff at Green River College are eligible. If asked, simply plug in your campus credentials (username and password) to get started. Completion is auto-magically tracked and winners will be personally notified. Game on!

The Morgan Challenge: Physical Security & Ethics

This Week’s Videos

This week we move to the next two videos in our contest:  Simply click below and complete the following videos:

  1. Physical Security
  2. Ethics


New to the Morgan Challenge?

In case you haven’t heard, our very own Camella Morgan (Executive Director of Information Technology) is giving away 100 Grand (chocolate bars) to the first 10 people to complete the challenge below!

Take the Morgan Challenge - Win 100 Grand!

All faculty and staff at Green River College are eligible. If asked, simply plug in your campus credentials (username and password) to get started. Completion is auto-magically tracked and winners will be personally notified. Game on!

Emergency Management

Posted on behalf of Toya Turner.Auburn Emergency Management

ARE YOU READY for the next big disaster?

Auburn Emergency Management provides FREE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS PRESENTATIONS to help you and your loved ones become more prepared without breaking the bank!

Join us at one of our upcoming workshops in January:

  • Wednesday, January 6
    • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 14
    • 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 23
    • 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Auburn City Hall
Council Chambers
25 W Main St.
Auburn, WA 98001

More information: 253-876-1925 | auburnwa.gov/disaster

Behind the Scenes – Course Development Process


Working with an awesome student named Yujin on digital audio recordings.

Human Resources encompasses a large variety of training topics related to new and current employees. This includes new employee orientations, benefits overviews, mandatory topics such as nondiscrimination and child abuse reporting, supervisor essentials, and even soft skills such as communications and effective teamwork. We’re now proud to be developing our very first online course!


Sheryl and Zack give their absolute best performances while acting out scenes.

Routinely, HR provides face-to-face training and workshops to meet the needs of the campus as a whole. That is a challenging task because the needs of the campus routinely change and the needs of the individual often mean that time slots, locations, or frequency never quite fit one’s personal schedule.  We’re hoping to change that in the future to meet our audience exactly where they are at.


Claire is joined by an awesome student named Jim, who helped voice one of our characters. 

That is where online delivery, reinforced by face-to-face engagement, comes into play. By placing parts of our training and workshops online, we increase the availability and access for every single individual, regardless of where they are physically located. For student employees that means not having to skip a class in order to attend a mandatory workshop. For part-time faculty, that means not having to drive to campus in order to obtain important information. For college employees as a whole that means obtaining necessary material from the convenience of your own desk or device.


Course development is a team effort and it helped to have such great support behind our first online course.

It should be stressed that replacing face-to-face interaction is not the end goal. Improving access and increasing learner success, while refocusing our face-to-face engagement to meet learners where they are at is essentially the best of both worlds…aka blended and flipped learning modalities.

Getting back to the purpose of this article, we’ve been working on a brand new course to be delivered online. It’s understandable that no one would be excited by this news…akin to being invited to watch someone’s wedding video (not exactly the most exciting two-hour experience of your life even thought the event itself may have been fantabulous). With this in mind we’re reinventing our training material, engagement strategy, and user experience (not to mention making the course more academically sound by adding assessments). In short, we hope the course to be meaningful, memorable, and motivational…as best as possible that is given the content.


This is just a teaser for what’s coming soon and will be included in our first online course. Stay tuned!

In the coming weeks you will continue to hear more about our development and launch of this new course. We’ve worked hard to ensure that it doesn’t feel like a two-hour wedding video and hope that folks appreciate the work that went into creating it. Stay tuned for more details!


Green River Participates in Campus Resilience Program


Delegates from Green River College traveled to the National Convention Center in Leesburg, Virginia last week for Campus Resilience Capacity Building training through CaRES and the Department of Homeland Security. The training provided an opportunity for Green River staff members to learn about how to implement CaRES training at our campuses, and provided tools for evaluation of existing campus resiliency measures.


Resiliency efforts would allow the Green River community to create plans—or playbooks—for each area of campus. These playbooks will help with recovery efforts, in the event of a natural disaster or other unforeseen occurrence. They will provide resources and step-by-step guidance to restoring operations to the key functions on campus.


Representatives from Green River College, Drexel University, Eastern Connecticut State University, Navajo Technical University, Texas A&M, Tougaloo College, University of Maryland, and University of San Francisco were in attendance at the CaRES conference. Green River is the only community college to be chosen to participate in this opportunity.


More details about the program:

“The Campus Resilience Program was created upon recommendation from the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, a federal advisory committee comprised of college and university presidents, academic leaders, and interagency partners charged with advising the Secretary of Homeland Security and senior leadership on matters related to homeland security and the academic community. The Council is managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Academic Engagement.

The program is a DHS collaborative initiative that involves the Department of Education, Department of Justice, and Department of State. Within DHS, the program is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), and the Office of Academic Engagement.”

One Step Closer: Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Process

Step ­by­ Step

Bart and Steve utilizing the best of both worlds (physical copies of SDS sheets and MSDSonline).

It’s official! Okay, not “official-official”…but close enough to official to write a blog post about it. Last week I outlined Safety Data Sheet (SDS) recommendations created in collaboration with the Environmental Health and Safety Committee (EHS). This week we take another baby-step towards the SDS process at Green River College.

Like all exceptional processes out there, ours must follow the basic principles of the three step rule (mainly that there only be three steps). Those steps include Adding SDS to MSDSonline, Saving PDFs to the Network Drive, and Adding SDS to Physical Binders in the Office. Below is a detailed breakdown for those who can’t wait to get started.


Bart is having the time of his life finding SDS sheets online!

Step 1: Add SDS to MSDSonline

MSDSonline is a vendor­-specific tool that provides Green River with a virtual space to store SDS. The benefits of this service include being able to view SDS across the entire institution, searching by specific locations, and auto­-updated SDS. Whereas the physical binders are limited by their location, printed version of the SDS, and sorting order, this cloud­-based solution is always up to date.


Finding SDS online is a very simple process.

Step ­by­ Step Process:

  1. Log in to M​SDSonline​ (credentials provided by Training Manager).
  2. Click on the “MSDSonline Search” tab.
  3. Type in the manufacturer, product name, or product code to begin your search.
  4. Find the correct search result and click on the check-box to the left of its name. A pop-­up window will appear to the right of the screen. If this item resides in your location, simply click on “Assign to Locations” and choose your specific location.
  5. Repeat this process as often as needed to add individual SDS to your location.

*If for any reason you are unable to find the SDS you are searching for (by product name, manufacturer, or product code), there is an option to upload your own PDF or request that MSDSonline retrieve the SDS on your behalf. These cases are rare though, because most SDS can be retrieved via a simple search. Please contact your friendly Training Manager before uploading your own PDF or initiating a vendor retrieval process (only a limited amount of these processes can be done per calendar year).

Step 2: Save PDFs to Network Drive

Once you have collected a SDS within MSDSonline, you can easily download a PDF version to the network drive.


Downloading a PDF version is just a click away!

Step ­by­ Step Process:

  1. From MSDSonline, click on the “eBinder” tab.
  2. From the “Locations” drop­-down menu, choose your location and click “Search.” The SDS for your location will be displayed below the search fields.
  3. Click on any PDF image icon you wish to download and a pop­-up window will appear. Choose download from this window and save to the directory specified above (in your corresponding folder).
  4. Repeat this process as often as needed to download SDS files.

Step 3: Add SDS to Physical Binder in Office

The last step in this process is to maintain a physical binder within your office. This is important in case the network drive or Internet temporarily goes down for any reason.

Step­ by ­Step Process:

  1. Using either the downloaded PDF or by clicking on the Acrobat image icon via MSDSonline, print the SDS sheet.
  2. Using a 3­-hole puncher, add holes to the printed SDS.
  3. Add the printed SDS to the physical SDS binder in your office area.
  4. Repeat this process for every SDS sheet you add in the future.

Free Online Writing Class!

Posted on behalf of Jean Sheadel. Thanks for sharing Jean! 

Wordsmithing, various style guides, grammar police, punctuation problems, not to mention spelling mistakes – there’s so much involved in writing, and writing correctly! Some of us have a hard time not proofing periodicals and books while we’re reading.

AP Style Highlights

Some of the many tools in my AP arsenal.

One of the best training sessions I ever attended was a writing class I took while working for the Kent School District. The class reviewed the most common writing mistakes – including grammar, punctuation and commonly misused words. The content was similar to the book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by Lynne Truss.

AP Style Thinking

Who wrote this stuff anyways..? Oh, that would be me.

Knowing this, I don’t think it would surprise you to know that I occasionally search the internet for training to improve my writing skills. I recently found a gem: Poynter. News University’s FREE, online class, “Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More.” Based on the AP Style Guide, the style guide used by Green River’s marketing department, I’m finding this course to be not only a refresher, but a useful learning tool. I’m certain that this class will help me in my day-to-day writing for the website, and for proofing college-related material.

Course Website Screenshot

This $29.95 course is free of charge thanks to the support of Knight Foundation.

If someone finds another (free) training course, I’d love to know about it!

One Step Closer: Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Recommendations


In my first environmental safety blog post, Crash Course – MSDS 101, I provided an introduction to this wildly exciting topic. The SDS process however, goes beyond any single department on our campus and helps to protect us all. With that in mind we’re now reaching out to other departments.

A Short History Lesson

Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), provide comprehensive information about a substance, chemical, or product on campus. SDS help the institution identify, label, store, handle, train, and protect our employees. Collecting and maintaining SDS is a requirement of hazard communication (including hazard determination, Right-to-Know access, labeling, safe handling, personal protective equipment, and more).

Poster-Eye-Protection2Environmental Health and Safety Committee (EHS)

In collaboration with the EHS Committee on our campus, very specific steps were identified to help establish clear and consistent processes across campus. Once we are able to institute these recommendations, online access will be provided for all of campus, network access would exist for backup purposes, and physical binders will be placed within buildings.

Key Recommendations

  1. Obtain and add SDS sheets to specific campus locations using the web-based tool MSDSonline.
  2. Download PDF sheets locally to the EHS networked drive.
  3. Print PDFs and place in physical binders at specific locations on campus.

If you have any questions regarding these recommendations, please feel free to contact your friendly (and awesome) Training Manager (that’s me).

Poster-Eye-ProtectionStay Tuned

This process is still being developed and modified to meet both the needs of the institution and the department. We will continue to work behind the scenes and provide updates as we meet milestones. So far, roughly 450 SDS exist within eBinder.

Fun Fact!

In the creation of this post an entire series of Simpsons workplace safety posters was stumbled upon. They are informative and entertaining if you have a few moments to spare.

Islamic Awareness Week on Campus

Posted in support of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Salam Campus Community,

With great honor, it is my esteemed pleasure to cordially invite you to Green River’s 2nd Annual Islamic Awareness Week from May 11-14, 2015, hosted by the Muslim Student Association.  All events throughout the week will be held in the  Lindbloom Center.  Each day contains a discussion topic pertaining to Islamic related matters and current events.  

Islamic Awareness Week

Click to view full size image.

Islamic Awareness Week:

  • Monday, May 11, 2015 – (Islam 101):  An overview of the fundamentals of the Islamic faith.  Discussion Facilitator: Imam Abdullahi of the Islamic Center of Kent.
  • Tuesday, May 12, 2015 – (Muslim Contributions): Discourse on the contributions Muslims have made in the areas of: science, mathematics, architecture, the arts and other fields.  Discussion Facilitator: Professor Dr. Turan Kayaoglu from the University of Washington Tacoma.
  • Wednesday, May 13, 2015 – (Women in Islam): An interactive workshop regarding: dominant culture, colonial influences on traditional and contemporary Muslim women, gender roles, Muslim women narratives and conceptualization.  Workshop Facilitator: Marwa Almusawi, Assistant Director of Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.  Panel discussion hosted by the Muslim Student Association.
  • Thursday, May 14, 2015 – (Banquet): Celebratory banquet including student arts and performances. The cost is $3.00 for students and $5.00 for non-students.

For more information, see the attached flyer.  For inquiring thoughts, the lantern (on the flyer) is a symbol of applying light and a reference to the concept of Noor (light); the intent of Islamic Awareness Week. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to direct them my way.

Shukran! (Thank you!)

Marwa Almusawi
Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Stress in the Workplace Activity

Stress in Workplace

Fact: Cookies, snacks, and short presentation all help reduce stress.

Workplace stress is a common part of interacting with customers. In our case customers include our colleagues, vendors, students, parents, and even community members.

The key is how we handle stress under pressure. We need to be able to maintain our composure while serving our wide variety/range of customers. Using established best practices and techniques, we can deescalate others people’s emotions and focus on the facts to work towards a resolution.

Stress in Workplace

Participants getting into character (stressed employee, neutral third party, and upset customer).

The Financial Aid department interacts frequently with students and family members who have concerns regarding their financial aid. In some cases the conversations become emotionally charged and responding in a calm and effective manner is the key to transitioning towards the next step. Most recently this department took advantage of a collaborative group workshop, where they learned techniques to handle stress in the workplace.

Stress in Workplace

Using simple techniques, the situation was quickly deescalated.

Common Techniques Include:

  • Acknowledge person’s emotion and describe impact
  • Invite person to share thoughts and feelings
  • Determine whether continuing conversation is appropriate
  • Listen to understand
  • Probe to uncover underlying issues
  • Help the person move on
  • Tag a team member
  • Avoid internalizing emotions
  • Reach for fish in tackle box (personal method used by Financial Aid staff member)
Stress in Workplace

The happiest (and stress-free) department at Green River!

If any department is curious about beginning this same conversation or collaborative group activity, feel free to contact training@greenriver.edu.

Presentations Are Boring

No matter how excited you are about your area of expertise, no matter how fascinated you may be by the work you are doing, and no matter what is happening within your department…it’s pretty safe to assume that no one else is as excited as you are. Put simply, presentations are boring. “Death by PowerPoint” is actually #7 on the top list of workplace injuries.

Presentations are boring

See, it’s a fact.

Let’s backtrack for a moment though and clarify what I’m trying to say. Content, no matter how meaningful, is never enough. But…content is king, right? Actually, your audience, their motivation, and creating a unique experience is actually king. It’s about making your content memorable and motivational for the people in the audience. Just because you’ve spent the past month gathering data and filling your presentation with endless information, doesn’t mean anyone will actually remember it.

That’s why instructors vary their method of delivery. Instead of simply relaying information every single class, they’re lecturing, presenting, asking questions, sharing life experiences, encouraging peer-to-peer interaction, creating group projects, and trying to get students to soak up the information in ways that they (the students) can actually relate to. If you think back to the best class you’ve ever taken, it’s usually because of a great instructor (not just the meaningful content).

So…we can at least half-way agree that presentations are boring. Knowing this I was a little worried (okay, a lot worried) that I would fall flat on my face and fail to connect with the audience. I was told that I’d have 5 minutes to talk about social media. Social Media. Yup…boring. Who cares about social media anyways? Not me.

Focus of Presenation

The real meaning behind the new Human Resources identity.

And so, I struggled to brainstorm, write up sticky note storyboards, and develop a working outline. I knew I had great information on all of our social media platforms. I had key analytics that demonstrated engagement and an increase in readership over time. I had background information into the effort and production that happened behind the scenes. Even knowing I had all of this information I still struggled to find my message. Who cares about numbers, clicks, views, and endless social media buzzwords. Nobody.

I then began to craft a message that told a story. I shared a vision. I spoke to what my audience valued and connected my content to those values. Once I was able to do that it became very apparent what I should ditch and what I should focus on. Below is the final result.

If anyone else struggles with presentations, believes that most presentations are boring, and seeks to become a better presenter, below are some great resources. They help me unlearn from time to time and focus on what is most important.

Presentation Resources

Presentation Resources

Just two of the many books I have go back to for presentations.

Lastly, I don’t have any inspiring tips for overcoming stage fright. Before every single course I have ever taught and before delivering any presentation my heart is beating a hundred miles an hour. Gulp.

Nervous on stage? Who, me?

Nervous on stage? Who, me?

Basic Mediation Training Course this June

Posted on behalf of Green River Community Mediation & Peacebuilding Institute.


Register today for our Basic Mediation Training (BMT) course.

If you are interested in enhancing your communication and conflict resolution skills, Basic Mediation Training (BMT) helps develop the skills needed to better resolve disputes and other issues for your students and others.

This coming June 22, 23, 24 and 29 & 30 a Basic Mediation Training (BMT) course will be held at our Kent campus. Completion of the BMT earns you 4 CEUs.

In the BMT course you will learn how to analyze and resolve disputes in a variety of contexts focusing on work and home situations.

(Completion of this course is a pre-requisite for a practicum which prepares graduates for certification as mediation practitioners.) Fee (after May): $695.00 CEUs: 4.0

Topics include: Conflict Resolution Concepts, Mediation Process, Qualities and Role of Mediator, Mediation Process, Communication Skills, Listening, Emotions, Power Imbalance, Conflict Styles, Being Aware of Our Biases, Ethics of Mediation.

Successful BMT graduates who complete a practicum and are willing to volunteer as mediators on school or college campuses, can be designated a ‘campus mediator’.

We limit the number of participants to ensure a high quality learning experience for all. Click on this link www.greenriver.edu/mediation for more information.

Registrations can be made to Cynthia Lemberg clemberg@greenriver.edu
Course information is available from Rich Elfers relfers@greenriver.edu

Register by 1 May and save with the Early Bird rate of $595.

I look forward to welcoming you to the BMT and to our Institute at Kent.

Barry J. Bannister PhD, Director
Green River Community Mediation & Peacebuilding Institute

Easily Create Your Own Training Guides


Example training guide for the HR newsletter development process.

I was recently meeting with a colleague (thank you Jean Sheadel) and we discussed the transfer of knowledge…or the lack thereof. One great thing about higher education is that folks tend to stick around for a very (very, very) long time. One not so great thing is that all the knowledge they accumulate throughout their career, often times spanning multiple positions at an institution, may go along with them once they leave. That means that others are left to reinvent the process or attempt to try to make sense of partially documented procedures.

Think about your own onboarding process. Were you completely trained in all areas of the job or were there times you felt like you were making it up as you went along? Can an institution really stand to lose such valuable experience, knowledge, and procedures every time a staff member leaves?


Just some of the many features of SnagIt by TechSmith.

Jean was kind enough to show me her method of documentation. Besides describing specific steps for a given task, she also includes annotated screenshots as well. By adding visuals to her documents she ensures that anyone viewing them will be able to further understand the process through images, text, and even callouts. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all stepped into new roles with fully developed manuals, user guides, and quick starts? Wouldn’t that make the job easier for those after us as well? Glad you asked such thought-provoking questions.

Wordpress Screenshot

An annotated image, created from this very blog post.

If you’re curious about experimenting with image annotation, you’ve got a few options. First, already installed on campus PCs is a program (found under All Programs > Accessories) called Snipping Tool. Next, there are lots of FREE extensions to add onto web browsers (I’d suggest the web extension Nimbus Screenshot for starters). Campus PCs already come installed with Chrome and Firefox, enabling you to add such extensions immediately. Start by opening up one of these browsers and hopping over to their extensions sites:

Another options once you’ve mastered the free tools (or outgrown them) is SnagIt by Techsmith. This application provides more advanced features and offers an educational discount (currently $29.95).

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and get screenshooting! Okay, that’s not actually a word…but it sounds cool. Thanks again Jean for sharing your process and Jeremy for your comment below.

Upcoming Arbinger Workshop: Resolving Conflict

Resolving Conflict

No one likes conflict, whether it is a brief negative encounter, repeated fighting or an ongoing feud.  Learn to analyze and understand why we are in conflict with others and what steps we can take to improve relationships with family members, coworkers or others in our social life or business environments. Participants will learn new ways of interacting with others, particularly those whose attitudes and behavior they wish to influence.  This course is open to the college community and to the public. It is offered by the Green River Community Mediation & Peacebuilding Institute to assist our communities to better analyze and resolve conflict.

Resolving Conflict
Fee $240.00
CEUs: 1.6
Date: April 10 & 24

Visit our website for more information and to stay informed on future events!

Training Consultations…Made Easy…er

My business card officially states Training Manager as my job title. When I get asked what I do on campus though, folks usually associate me as…”the HR newsletter guy.” While I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish within HR in regards to communication, engagement, and all-around AWESOMENESS…my roles and responsibilities span training initiatives and needs across the entire institution. That…is a daunting task.

Training Manager

Everything you ever needed to know about Steve Sosa.

I very quickly came the realization that there are way too many training and development needs across the institution to tackle in one quarter (much less one academic year). Although I can’t address every single need immediately, I am able to add them to a queue, so to speak. Currently I am serving guest 437. Please stay in line. Your call is important to me.

Participatory Governance

Jean and I mastering the selfie and finishing a consultation on Participatory Governance at Green River.

In the midst of making significant progress on just a few training initiatives (mandatory and compliance related needs are the first priority on campus), I am also working to simplify the consultation process as a whole. If you happen to be a fan of teaching and learning, eLearning, or instructional design, you’ll appreciate anything that makes design and development easier. Consultations shouldn’t feel like getting a tooth pulled, right?

Online Course Templates

The first of many consultation and course design templates to come your way.

And so, I’m proud to announce the first in a series of many templates coming our way. Dear world, I present Online Course Outline Template and Unit of Instruction Template. These were born out of the instructional design need to clearly analyze and design training solutions (in geekspeak, part of the ADDIE process). In teaching and learning terms that would be mapping the curriculum. During the consultation, these templates help clearly articulate:

  • Learning objectives (both course and module)
  • Content identification (text, presentation, screencasts, video)
  • Course progression (fully available versus competency-based)
  • Engagement methods
  • Assessment methods

So, why is all of this important to Green River College? Well, first…we only have one Training Manager who can’t address all needs immediately. If we wait, on a project to project completion basis, we’d be waiting until 2029. The reality though is that everyone has different schedules, priorities, flexibility, and physical locations. Solutions to training initiatives must include an online component. It’s about leveraging the power of technology to include, engage, and motivate employees in their own spaces, at their own times, and on their own devices. It’s also about keeping my own sanity in the process.

Stay tuned for the next training consultation template!

Canvas Module Example

Keep an eye out for Green River’s newest course on the Meaning of Life!

SmartHealth Challenge Accepted!


A personal challenge issued by the Governor!

It all started with this postcard in the mail. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not exactly a health nut. I like value meals. I like refilling my soda before leaving Costco. I like sour cream on my tacos. I also…have yet to explore all walking trails across campus. That being said, I do like anything that clearly states I can earn $125! Sign me up! Governor (as in the WA State Governor’s SmartHealth Challenge), you’re on!


None of these snacks are officially endorsed by SmartHealth, but all can be found in my desk.

With visions of a $125 incentive applied towards my health coverage deductible for 2016, I logged into the SmartHealth website for the very first time. Registration was no problem at all. Choosing a username however…that was challenging because you want to pick something that sounds cool…but not dated (something like steve2015 would only work for another 9 months after all). “EstebanIsSteve” can now officially be found on the SmartHealth site.

The actual task at hand, completing the Well-being Assessment, took about fifteen minutes. I was a little curious why I was being asked about my career, quality of life, optimism, and blood sugar level (Does anyone really know their blood sugar level?). Whoop! Completing the assessment just earned me 800 points towards that $125 deductible!


79%! That’s it! Perhaps I should have studied before taking the test.

My momentary excitement however shifted towards another feeling. I may have just earned 800 points, but my assessment revealed an overall wellness score of only 79%. That would eat away at any overachiever, right? Am I really just average? Gulp. As it turns out I excelled in “Life Meaning”, “Knowing Yourself”, and “Capacity for Change”, but received lower marks in “Physical”, “Sleep”, and “Nutrition.” Okay…I guess that actually makes sense. I’ve perhaps known this all along. The difference though, is that I had an official result in front of me…in black and white…from the Governor…stating I am below average in several areas of well-being. Let’s just say that being confronted with the truth hurts a tiny bit. Thank you Governor.


That 7 hours I just slept? That banana I had for breakfast? Yup. Those count towards actual points.

No seriously, thank you Governor. Everyone needs a truth sandwich every now and then. I know I don’t work out enough. I know there are beautiful trails on campus I should be exploring. I know I should not be supersizing my value meal. The good news is that this site also has lots of support, resources, and “Topics” to improve one’s well-being. Every topic you add to your program adds to your overall goal of reaching that $125 deductible. I’ve already added a few topics (Sleep Well, Healthy Start, and Track Your Activity) and am on track to a better me.


I just a few clicks I automagically connected my exercise app of choice to SmartHealth.

On a serious note, this process also made me aware of the fact that I really don’t know basic information…about myself. I felt the click of shame every time I had to choose, “I don’t know”,  as an answer. Blood glucose? Cholesterol? Blood pressure? Weight? I don’t know. Am I supposed to know this information? Now, I’m actually thinking of scheduling a doctor’s visit…you know, those things you normally do only when you feel like you’re dying? It’s like I’m actually thinking about my health in a proactive way instead of responding to a situation as it occurs. There is hope for me yet…and an incentive for $125!

P.S. If anyone out there received a score of over 79% please don’t share with me. I already feel self-conscious enough for one week.

LinkedIn 101 for the Late Bloomer

LinkedIn 101 for the Late Bloomer

So, I admit I am a newbie when it comes to this subject and most of you could teach me a thing or two about it. Facebook, on the other hand, is another story all together.

Thinking About LinkedIn

I think I’m ready to do this LinkedIn thing.

What intrigues me the most about LinkedIn, is how it can help me connect with others in my field to get information, feedback and ideas about projects and processes — and to share Green River’s career opportunities. I’ve done a little research on the subject and perhaps it will convince you to try something new, in addition to Facebook.

Starting Out:

Begin by connecting with people you know well. These might include family members, friends, current and former coworkers and supervisors (and Facebook friends :-0 ). When you’re first starting with LinkedIn, aim for adding at least 50 connections.

Joining and Contributing to Groups:

(This is the part when you start reaching out to other professionals in your field.)

Green River is on LinkedIn!

I can network with other HR professionals on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn offers many groups for users. Groups may be focused on a common profession, industry, program or affiliation. Users can join up to 50 groups. Joining a group will connect you to other individuals with common careers, interests or affiliations with whom you can share information, network, and have discussions.

Using the Search Box on LinkedIn, you can conduct a search of LinkedIn groups by keywords of interest. You will likely receive many results for each industry or keyword that you enter. It would be a good idea to compare multiple groups and see how active they are, how many members they have, and if the content interests you.

LinkedIn offers two types of groups: Members-Only Groups and Open Groups. Members-Only Groups require individuals to join the group in order to see and contribute to the discussions. The discussions cannot be shared on other social media platforms. Discussions in Open Groups are visible by anyone and can be found using Internet search engines. These discussions can also be shared on various social media platforms.

Members: You are able to view all of the members of a group you have joined. Here, you can find and send messages to people with whom you are interested in sharing information about processes and projects pertaining to your department or program.

Discussions: Group members can post discussions to encourage dialogue of interest among other members. Discussions are often focused on relevant news or updates for the particular field or trending topics in your field. If you wish to start your own discussion, you may consider posting an article you have recently read with your thoughts or opinions; posing a question about a specific topic, or requesting advice or fresh ideas.

Claire on LinkedIn

I’ve got this!

Status Updates:

Posting status updates on LinkedIn is a great way to interact with your connections and maintain an active presence. Similar to other social media, when you post a status, it will be shared with all of your connections. Some topics you may consider when posting a status are:

  • Interesting articles you’ve read about your field or program, along with your thoughts
  • Questions you have for other professionals

Who’s Who:

First degree connections are people you are directly connected to and likely know well. You will be able to see their full profiles.

Second degree connections are individuals who are directly connected to one of your first degree connections but not to you. You will be able to see your second degree connections’ full names and select information from their profiles.

Third degree connections are people who you are more distantly connected to, as they are connected to your second degree connections. Based on the individual’s privacy settings, you may be able to see a third degree connection’s full name, or you may only be able to see their first name and first initial of last name.

Group connections are members of the groups you join. Individuals elect whether or not to accept messages from group connections, so you may not be able to contact all of your group connections directly.

This concludes LinkedIn 101 for the Late Bloomer. See you on LinkedIn!

2 Days of Procurement and Contract Management

Marshall and Steve

Two days of training? Piece of cake.

“HR plays an important role in training requirements at the state level. You should attend both the WA-State Purchasing and Procurement 101 and Contract Management 101 training workshops.”

When Patty Sikora, Director of Purchasing, first recommended I participate, I wasn’t quite sure what I was being signed up for. Thankfully, she walked me through important state training mandates and the impact they have on a local level. Specifically for my position as Training Manager, I needed to understand what folks were expected to complete, the process for completion, and the learning management system (LMS) supporting these courses.

Training Attendees

It’s a full house of higher education purchasing and contract folks!

If you’ve never heard of these required training courses, then you’re probably not interacting with purchasing, procurement, or contract management on a daily basis. The short version is that designated folks across campus do deal with this type of work routinely and must adhere to strict requirements. Still doesn’t make sense? That’s okay. Just be thankful that there are folks across campus who have to worry about all the legalities of purchasing your favorite pens, post-it notes, reams of paper…and that brand new building that is being constructed.

Full House

Personally, although I have been issued a p-card for another institution, I never fathomed all of the legal requirements that occurred behind the scenes. I didn’t realize that the difference of one dollar (from something costing $9,999 versus $10,000) could have such drastic impacts on the process. I didn’t comprehend the collaboration required for complicated purchases such as site-wide licenses or IT contracts or the seemingly simple purchases such as an iPad app.

Marshall Texting

Marshall swears his texting is work related.

The training Patty suggested I sign up for was actually the first higher education face-to-face training offered. If I wasn’t able to attend this two-day training, another option would have been online webinars and assessments. Because this was specifically dedicated to higher education and because so many Green River employees participated, I thought this would be my best bet. Besides, attending training with people you know is always funner, right?

Free food!

Did I mention that food was provided!

In the end I survived two days of non-stop purchasing, procurement, and contract management modules. Because I got to attend with fellow employees, received lunch and snacks in the process, and got hip to the training required at the state level, I can’t really complain. I have a HUGE newfound respect for anyone who orders post-it notes now. Seriously. Give those folks a hug. Right now.

Tricky Test Questions

I’m not sure if this is Marshall’s sheet or mine, but there were lots of tricky questions out there!

Finally, I’d like say “gracias” to all the folks who helped make this happen and all the supervisors who allowed their support staff to be a part of this unique opportunity. Special thanks to Patty Sikora, Crystal Bolt, and Carla Kane for pointing me in the right direction, presenting me with my name tag, and answering specific questions I had relating to Green River purchasing. Thanks to Linda Flanigan and our IT support staff for ensuring I had an Internet connection the entire time. Thanks Pam Dally, Michael Berry, and all the Kent Station folks who hosted the event.

Arbinger Adventures at Kent Campus

My first trip to Kent Campus!

My first trip to Kent Campus!

What better reason to visit the Kent Campus, than to participate in an Arbinger Institute from our very own Mediation Center. Arbinger training is just one of the many professional development opportunities available through this great resource! I even downloaded the audiobook “Leadership & Self-Deception” to mentally prepare to be a part of this training.

I present Dr. Barry Bannister (our fearless leader).

I present Dr. Barry Bannister (our fearless leader).

Throughout the day (this is actually a multi-day workshop), I found myself taking notes as fast as I could write them down. I appreciated how Arbinger focuses on the way we interact with others and our role in helping those around us. It posed great self-reflective questions, such as:

  • How am I a problem for others?
  • How can I be more helpful to others?
  • How can I help things go right?
Being surrounded by other Green River employees made the event a blast.

Being surrounded by other Green River employees made the event a blast.

The focus of the training is meant for workplace application and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in improving their professional life. However, the training applies to all personal interactions and I found myself utilizing the principles covered with my own family members as well. I would definitely suggest this workshop (and others) provided through the Mediation Center. For complete details on all of their offerings, simply contact Dr. Barry Bannister or visit www.greenriver.edu/mediation.

Just one of the many reasons to visit Kent Campus!

Just one of the many reasons to visit Kent Campus!

In case you have never been to the Kent Campus, you’re missing out! There are many, many reasons (besides Barry and the Mediation Center) to drop by. I can’t wait until the next professional development workshop!

Free Microsoft IT Academy for Employees!

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 3.07.44 PM

Did you know that all Green River employees are eligible for free participation in the Microsoft IT Academy?

The Washington State Library’s Microsoft IT Academy provides the people of Washington free access to over 400 online courses and learning resources through their local public , community college, or tribal libraries; courses are available in 20 languages. Funded by the state Legislature and administered by the Washington State Library (a division of the Office of the Secretary of State), courses range from basic technology skills/digital literacy to Microsoft Office and topics supporting IT professionals.

Access the Microsoft IT Academy from your Green River computer or through your local library* and start taking courses in just a few minutes!

Get Started Today

  1. Visit Microsoft IT Academy Online
  2. Enter or Create Live Account Username and Password
  3. Get Started!

Social Security 101 Workshop

Back by popular demand and in conjunction with Workforce Education, Human Resources is sponsoring our second free workshop on Social Security. Everyone can come (including family members and students). However, each person attending must be registered to reserve space. For example, if bringing your spouse, you must also register them.

Social Security 101 Workshop – Everything You Wanted To Know

A FREE Workshop by the Social Security Administration

  • Retirement Benefits and Eligibility Requirements
  • What Early Retirement Does To Your Benefits
  • How do you qualify for Disability, Survivor, and Spouse Benefits
  • How to use your my Social Security Online Account and other Online Services
  • What is the future of Social Security
  • Understand How to Get the Most From Your Benefit

Please Note – You should create your my Social Security account before attending the class and printout your Social Security Statement. Go to www.ssa.gov/myaccount

Guest Speaker

Kirk Larson is the Western Washington Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration. He has worked with the agency for over 20 years in both technical and supervisory roles. Kirk has presented Social Security information in both the Seattle and San Francisco Regions. He has had several articles published, and has appeared on TV and radio shows to discuss Social Security issues.

Register Now

When: Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Time: 2:30 P.M. – 4 P.M.

Register for this event!